InitiativesPeople with Special Needs

People with Special Needs

The IACC founded the Department for Handicapped and People with Special Needs in 1991, based on the belief that every human has the fundamental right to access places, activities, employment and recreation facilities, without any hiderance based on their handicaps or other special needs. 

Activities for people with special needs take place regularly in over 140 community centers in Israel. The scope of the activities is vast and encompasses children, youth, and adults with handicaps or special needs, such as:


  • Physical disabilities and handicaps
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Mental retardedation
  • Down syndrome
  • Mental illness
  • Stroke
  • Autism and Aspergers syndrome
  • Dyslexia and learning disabilities
  • Various other syndromes that cause physical or mental disabilities
Download New Initiatives Booklet (Hebrew)

About the Department

In order to implement and promote the department's activities, its staff operates as follows:

  • Ongoing mapping of special needs groups, primarily in terms of recreation, community and physical and social accessibility.

  • Development of recreational activities for people with special needs, within the community centers.

  • Ensuring the physical accessibility of community centers, for all types of special needs and handicaps: physical, mental and sensory (such as the blind and deaf).

  • Development of the principle of inclusiveness of special needs people within the community, and its implementation in the general society, and advocacy against handicap discrimination.

  • Empowerment of the handicapped and their families, leadership development amongst special needs people, training geared at strengthening their autonomy and promotion of self-achievement.

  • Support of self-help groups, promoting taking responsibility, being active in voluntary organizations and action for the community.

  • Professional development for staff: community center employees with special needs receive support and appropriate professional training, so that they can implement the department's programs in the community centers. Special coordinators for special needs groups are elected to develop programs and raise funds for their implementation.

  • Initiation of study days, activities and events geared at people with special needs throughout the country, via the community centers.

  • Establishment of information databases and a publicity plan for distribution of relevant materials, such as: the rights of people with disabilities, supportive organizations and institutions, handicapped tourism, a specialists database, accessibility and more.


  • Amitim - Social rehabilitation of approximately 1,800 adults with mental disabilities through their integration in programs offered by the community centers for the general public. We are currently developing a similar pilot program for youth members with mental illnesses.
  • Reim - 35 social groups that provide a warm and supportive framework for children, teens, and adults with communication disability who feel social isolation.
  • Adult Recreation - Integration of hundreds of people with disabilities in leisure activities at the community centers; a group model and a model of individual integration. 
  • Children & Youth Recreation - A similar program for over two thousand children and youth with disabilities in community centers, has been terminated since the Ministry of Education stopped the subsistence allowance.
  • Ma'agalim - 17 recreational clubs for adults with mental retardation living with their parents. We are currently developing a healthy lifestyle program for this population, together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and other organizations.
  • Recreation at Government Day Care Centers
  • Accessible Community - Local committees in 50 communities in which the majority of participants are people with disabilities working to promote physical, social, and information accessibility, and more.

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